Would a Holyday vigil make one exempt from Friday sacrifice?

For example, this past Christmas was on a Saturday, meaning its vigil was on Friday. I was talking with someone who claimed that because the vigil of this Feast Day fell on a Friday, we wouldn’t have to make any kind of sacrifice. I know that if Christmas itself had been on Friday, this would be the case, but I’m very skeptical that the same would apply for a vigil. Any insight on this?

The canon reads

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

It does not say, the solemnity or its vigil.

In the older observance, the eve of a major feast was actually a time of more fasting or abstinence. In those cases, the Vigil Mass broke the fast.

When you attend Mass at 5:00pm on December 24, you are attending Christmas. Solemnities extend to the previous Vespers for liturgical purposes, so I can’t think why it would be any different for the purposes of Friday penance. But note that this would not exempt the part of Friday before Vespers.

Are you referring to year round Friday abstinence? Since it is not obligatory, you are able to make any exceptions you wish. Vigils are observed from the traditional sundown to sundown in reference to Sabbath. As far as Christmas Eve this would be the case because it is a feast observed as obligatory (at sundown).

Otherwise would you begin your Ash Wednesday fast at sundown on Mardi Gras? :dts:

Ash Wednesday is not a solemnity, so it begins at midnight.

Friday abstinence is not required, but a penance must be observed.


Abstinence is required on all Fridays (see the canon law reference in post #2). It just doesn’t have to be abstinence from meat.


but a penance must be observed.

Actually the Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence Article 25 does release from pain of sin “Friday abstinence”. Other observances are encouraged and recommended none under pain of sin, or “must” take place or over the length of the full day.

(I didn’t copy and paste because it gave a warning)

Fridays are a day of penance, but there is nothing binding under pain of sin from the USCCB except Lent of course.

You are confusing whether something is required or obligatory under Church law with whether it is binding under pain of sin. You originally said Friday penance was not obligatory. It is. It is not binding under pain of sin.

Please if you are going to insist on correcting at least get it correct

Are you referring to year round Friday abstinence?

Was what I wrote…which is no longer obligatory

I did get it correct. Year-round Friday abstinence is required by canon law. It is not binding under pain of sin.


So from this discussion I conclude that this year the Annunciation churchyear.net/annunciation.html does not involve abstinence.

It is March 25th
It is a Friday in Lent
It a Solemnity
[in the Lord of the Rings it is the day the Ring was destroyed and the world was saved from darkness]

On our Church calendar it is marked with a fish (abstinence) and the symbol is incorrectly applied… Correct? :confused:

In general, the best thing to do with questions of this nature is to consult with your own diocese:

“During the Lenten season, certain feasts occur which the liturgy or local custom traditionally exempts from the Lenten spirit of penance. The observance of these will continue to be set by local diocesan regulations; in these and like canonical questions which may arise in connection with these pastoral instructions, reference should be made to article VII of Poenitemini and the usual norms.”

This is my reading of the rules, however:

In the general instructions for the liturgical year, days within the Octave of Easter, Ash Wednesday, the Sundays of Lent, and all the days of Holy Week (as examples) take precedence over Solemnities of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of saints listed in the general calendar, which in turn take precedence over weekdays of Lent. In cases when a solemnity is impeded by a liturgical day that takes precedence over it, the rules say that the solemnity should be transferred to the closest day that doesn’t pose an impediment for other reasons (i.e., has a liturgical rank that is too high).

IOW, since the Solemnity of the Annuciation, one of the Solemnities of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has the rank that it has, if it falls on a penitential day that takes precedence, it is transferred, not omitted for the year (as a feast day of a lower rank would be.) Whether or not it is transferred, the observance of this Solemnity takes precedence over the other observance for the day. As a Solemnity, it is observed beginning with vespers on the day preceding, provided again that the vespers of a day of higher rank does not take precedence.

The Solemnity of the Annuciation is transferred when it falls during Holy Week, for instance, but not when it merely falls on a Friday of Lent, as it does this year. I think the printer put the little fish on that day by mistake.

IMHO, it is nice, when the liturgical calendar removes fasting as an observance of a Friday, to substitute almsgiving and prayer, which are never inappropriate observances of even the greatest solemnity. If Christmas falls on a Friday, then, and turns that Friday from fast to feast, why not be all the more certain that you give that much more?

The irony here, of course, is that fasting and abstinence on the day prior to any feast day used to be the general custom of the faithful.

I’ll check with our priest. I agree in the increase in almsgiving an prayer on a Solemnity. Thanks for the detailed rundown.

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